Thursday, February 17, 2011

The More Things Change...

I started this piece in Pamela Allen's workshop almost three years ago.  The assignment was to do a face. Faces were a huge part of the reason I took the workshop (that and how much I enjoy Pamela's work).  She encouraged us to work quickly, so we did.  Realism was not a requirement.  This is what I came up with:

I pinned her up when I got home.  She had the good grace never to mock me, maybe because she is looking up, rather than down at my worktable.  I knew that her mouth was too wide, so that was an immediate fix.  I also thought the blue for her neck was too assertive.  It took me two years to make those fairly minor changes, and once I did, I decided that the background was a problem, too.  This is what she looked like last summer:

Then, a couple of days ago when I really looked at that photo, I knew there was still something not quite right.  The background again?  I auditioned different backgrounds and stayed with what I had, even though I wasn't crazy about the yellow in it echoing the yellow in her face and neck.  Lip color?  The purple lips called too much attention to themselves.  Five color combinations later, they were a purpley-brown that seemed to go with the rest of her face.

Still, something was wrong.  Shirt?  No.  Hair?  I hoped not.   I really liked her hair.  That fabric was one of my favorites.  I walked away, but every time I came back, it was the hair.  Durn! as my father would have said.

This is her current incarnation:

Her hair now contains swirls from the original hair fabric, in addition to some violet highlights.  I think she's ready to quilt!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Things My Father Told Me

William C. Bryant, Jr.
 My father once told me about a time when he was a young resident (intern?) doing his emergency room rotation.  One of his patients was a man who needed stitches.  This was the first time my father had done stitches unsupervised and he was nervous.  So nervous, he could not get the stitches to hold. 

In frustration, he says he mumbled, "I'm all thumbs tonight." 

His patient turned to him and said, "Then you'd better find the rest of your damn fingers!"

Since my father was ultimately able to get this man sewn up all those years ago, we all had a good laugh.

I doubt that that nameless patient was trying to be inspirational.  Motivational, perhaps, in a vaguely threatening way.  But I hear my father delivering that punchline whenever those seams are crooked and have to be redone, when the fabric is somehow wrong-side-up, or when that stray piece of fabric attaches itself unnoticed to the work.  Find your damn fingers, and get on with it.